Guidance detailed on this page follows the publication of the Vocational and Technical Qualifications Contingency Regulatory Framework by Ofqual to help you with delivery and assessment for BTEC Higher Nationals for summer 2021. 

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Overview of the guidance

We prepared a short video which outlines the key elements of the guidance for BTEC Higher Nationals.

Wherever possible delivery and assessment should continue where safe to do so or via online delivery, using adaptations outlined in the Delivery and Assessment Guidance for BTEC Higher Nationals 2020-2021.  

The primary mitigation for BTEC Higher National qualifications will be to 'Adapt' assessments, however, we understand that in some instances that will not be possible. Ofqual-regulated BTEC Higher Nationals are in Category B2 and eligible for Unit Level Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGSs), with some exceptions. 

Where unit assessments are incomplete, or have not taken place, centres are advised to use completed formative and summative assessments to make Teacher Assessed Grade decisions at unit level. You can download our Delivery and Assessment Guidance for further information. 

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What are the key things to know?

  • Assessment Boards will continue to be integral to awarding grades this summer and we will request Assessment Board minutes and a completed Assessment Grade Tracker, which will contain a Grade Declaration, for all grades (even where Unit Level TAGs are not being used). Our guidance sets out the details for the Grade Declaration and who can sign it.  
  • As part of the VCRF requirements, once you’ve determined your Unit Level TAGs, you’ll need to do complete a high-level check to ensure the grades are not overly lenient or too harsh compared to results in previous years.  
  • You can start to submit your Assessment Board Minutes, Grade Tracker and Grade Declaration to your External Examiner as soon as you are ready, but if your students need to have their results by August 2021, please make your submissions no later than 9 July 2021.   
  • Remote ‘visits’ by External Examiners will take place this year as previously communicated. Please follow the guidance on remote EE sampling in the Centre guide to EE (for UK Centres) and International Remote Sampling guidance (for International centres) linked below.
  • Your External Examiner will carry out an external quality review of the grades in the Assessment Board Tracker, alongside the Assessment Board minutes and the Grade Declaration.   
  • Certificates can be claimed via Edexcel Online in the usual way, but only once your External Examiner has released your programmes.  

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Ofqual regulated BTEC Higher Nationals will be in Category B2 meaning that they are in scope for alternative arrangements, which will include Unit Level Teacher Assessed Grades (Unit Level TAGs) (with some exceptions). Please download and view the list of Higher National qualifications for details.

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Centres can record Unit Level Teacher Assessed Grades in Edexcel Online using the ‘Z’ function.  For grades that are UTAGs, centres should mark the grade (Pass/Merit/Distinction) and the Z column. 

The video shows how to record UTAGs on Edexcel Online.

Additional support

We will continue to review our FAQs regularly, adding more information when needed. 

BTEC Higher Nationals FAQs

You can also watch recordings of our live training sessions where we explained the guidance to assessment and awarding for Higher Nationals in 2020/21. 

On-demand training: Unit Level Teacher Assessed Grades